Written by UNCG Sports Information Departmetn:
GREENSBORO, N.C. - The UNCG men's basketball team saw its 10-point halftime lead fall by the wayside against Furman as the Spartans were out-scored 47-29 in the second half on their way to a 69-61 Southern Conference loss to Sunday afternoon at the Greensboro Coliseum.
"You have to give Furman a lot of credit," head coach Wes Miller said. "I thought we played well in the first half and still missed so many opportunities to extend our lead out even further before halftime. They made a great adjustment at halftime to scrap what they were doing offensively. They just spread us out and drove us in the second half. They had great success making plays and getting us into foul trouble, while we had a stretch where we couldn't do anything offensively."
UNCG connected on just 36.5 percent (23-of-63) from the field in the loss and hit only 4-of-16 (25%) from three-point land. Furman conversely connected on 44.7 percent (21-of-47) from the field and 57.1 percent (8-of-14) from long range for its second league victory of the season.
Senior guard Derrell Armstrong (Mechanicsville, Md./Allegany CC) and sophomore Nicholas Paulos (Salt Lake City, Utah/New Hampton School) paced the Spartans in the loss with 16 points apiece. Armstrong was 6-of-14 from the field while Paulos hit 4-of-7 from three-point land. Junior Trevis Simpson (Douglas, Ga./Coffee) was limited to just 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting as he played with foul trouble most of the game before fouling out after just 22 minutes of action.
Furman (5-12, 2-4 SoCon) connected on 58.3 percent (14-of-24) from the field and 83.3 percent (5-of-6) from distance in the second half as it out-scored the Spartans by 18 points. Five different Paladins scored in double figures in the victory with Bobby Austin leading the way with 13 points, including hitting all three three-pointers he took in the game.
The Spartans and Paladins traded baskets in the early going before UNCG started to run the floor. The Spartans scored on back-to-back fast break baskets as David Williams (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast) and Armstrong scored in transition off of UNCG steals.
After Furman tied the game at 15-15, UNCG scored the next eight points on its way to a 12-2 run to take a 27-17 lead. Paulos started the run with consecutive three-pointers before capping the spurt by scoring on drive to five the Spartans a double-digit lead.
UNCG held that 10-point lead heading into the locker room at 32-22 as it connected on 36.1 percent (13-of-36) from the field and hit 3-of-8 (37.5 percent) from long range. Paulos led the Spartans with 11 points off the bench while Armstrong, Williams and Simpson each chipped in six points. Furman connected on 30.4 percent (7-of-23) from the field but committed 12 first half turnovers. Larry Wideman and Stephen Croone each scored five points in the first half.
After UNCG scored the first basket of the second half, Furman answered with the next 11 points to narrow the gap to one at 34-33. The Paladins started to hit from the outside as they sank three straight three-pointers, including a pair from Austin.
The Spartans slowed the momentum as they extended their lead back to seven at 46-39. Freshman Jordan Potts (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) ignited the offense with four straight points while Simpson found fifth-year senior forward Kelvin McNeil (Newport News, Va./Delaware) alone underneath for the seven-point lead.
Furman responded with a 15-0 run to take its largest lead of the afternoon at 54-46. Larry Wideman started the run as he scored on consecutive possessions while Colin Reddick added four points in the spurt. Austin gave the Paladins the eight-point lead as he nailed his third long distance shot of the half with 6:52 left in the game.
The Spartans were able to narrow the gap to four points at 63-59 with 50 seconds left in the game when Armstrong hit a jumper in the paint but Furman connected on 6-of-8 free throws in the last minute to seal the victory. The Paladins hit 14-of-18 (77.8%) from the charity stripe in the second half.
Croone and Wideman each finished with 12 points apiece while Colin Reddick added a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds. Kendrec Ferrara grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds as Furman out-paced the Spartans on the glass 37-36.
The Spartans continue the home stand Thursday night as they host SoCon North Division leading Samford. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at the Greensboro Coliseum.